Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween: Obesity Versus the Occasional Splurge

This year it seems like Halloween has gone on forever. Today's the day, and I expect not much is getting done in schools all across North America as kids parade around in their costumes and prepare for the candy gorge today. But there have been parties (often only for grownups) since Friday night which means almost four days of festivities.

This morning Radio Can interviewed a cardiologist who compared the menace of obesity to that of smoking 40 years ago. Attitudes towad smoking have changed dramatically, and he said that the same must happen to attitudes toward too much fast food and other empty calorie food. Otherwise, he said, we are going to be faced with immense problems of diabetes and heart disease as overweight childen become overweight adults.

How does Halloween fit into this? Halloween was once a rare moment when children could stuff themselves with candy, but now excess has become part of the daily fare.
Far better to splurge occasionnally. Not only do the moments of sugar high seem more intense because they stand out more from ordinary life, their effects on health have got to be less.


lagatta à montréal said...

Mary, I didn't hear the interview with the cardiologist, but it is essential not to overlook the class issue. "Times have changed, now the poor are fat" sang Elton John, and that was a good while back. Now that is true not only in the US and to a lesser extent in Canada and Europe, but even in the richer developing countries such as Brazil and Mexico. Cheap calories are available, good nutrition not. A test - go look at charcuterie (deli meats) never the healthiest of offerings, but the low-fat ones are at least twice the price of the fatty ones, and it is true for many other less-processed foods.

Probably the greatest Halloween danger was lasting damage to teeth - and alas that vital part of our bodies are somehow not covered by L'Assurance-santé. Like not covering our left toe, or our pancreas or whatever random body part. While people on public assistance get some miserable bit of coverage, the working poor who are the majority of poor people have absolutely no recourse whatsoever.

I guess this boils down to sound health advice yes; blaming the victime no.

And Halloween, a manufactured holiday, makes me sick!

Mary Soderstrom said...

Excellent points.